Tuesday, July 3, 2012

But is it done?


I signed up for the Insecure Writers Support Group, which is just a step in a weird direction for me. Normally I'm a solitary writer. I've learned to critique and to take critiques (thanks to my FANTASTIC writing group and my muse). I've learned to blog (gasp!) and I have people read my finished hovels (preferably BEFORE I start major edits!).

But HOWHOWHOW can I tell when a book is ready to submit? I've read all the advice but that really doesn't help. The basics are:

Is it finished?
Has someone (as in another writer) read it?
Has it been revised and edited (based on reader feedback)?

The rest of the advice fits into the "You're not yet a writer" category and really has nothing to do with the book itself.

The point is, just because a book fits these criteria doesn't mean it's ready to be submitted. I have eleven novels finished, four of them fully edited. At least in the case of the four, another writer (or several) has read the book.

Two of these books I believe are ready. The others...not so much. I just can't figure out what's wrong.

At what point do I throw up my hands and say "Enough already" when my subconscious says that there's something wrong I just can't find it. Nor can my beta readers find it, and since my brain won't cooperate and tell me what it's thinking...

I refuse to give up on books that I know have a lot of potential just because my stupid subconscious insists on aiming for my foot. (Inside joke.)

Do I just take the chance of sending out something that's not ready yet? Or what if it is ready and it's just my brain using this as an excuse to not do anything? Or what if I'm just dithering and I'll wake up in the morning wondering who wrote this?

19 comments:

  1. It is a difficult thing to know. If you know something is wrong with the book, then trust your instincts. Of course, it's good practise to send out your book. I know the first time I sent mine out I could suddenly see all the mistakes ;)

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  2. Hi :)

    Just popping by from the IWSG :)

    Wow!!!!! That is soooo impressive!!!! 11 finished novels? I am soooo jealous!!!! :) Good for you honey!!!! :)

    Hmmmmm, that's a hard one. I guess it's all about taking a chance. At some stage you have to say to yourself "I'm gunna do this!"

    Have you had any Beta readings? If it was me, I would send out the one that's been read by other people and that's had the BEST feedback. I don't think any writer is 100% happy with their work. Even very successful novelists who've had their work published look at the book and say, damn, I wish I'd changed that lol

    And look at it this way....if an agent or publishers comes back saying, we like your voice, but not keen on this story, have you got anything else, well, most of us would gasp and panic, whereas you my friend, will be able to hit them with something else immediately :)

    Good luck honey....you can do it :)

    Xx

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    1. Betas are a problem to be discussed later. Maybe next month. Finishing a book about every two months, I don't want to overwhelm (i.e., scare away) those who are willing, and each novel needs multiple readers...

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  3. When you have written your best and done your best start submitting the damn thing. I think one of the most crucial things is knowing when one is procrastinating and when one is insecure. The very worst that could happen is that you will be rejected...and no one is going to die from that. Then again, every no brings one closer to a yes! Be encouraged, start submitting!

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    1. Another part of the problem is that I've been considering e-publishing for this series, and my brain does NOT want me to step out there!

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  4. The subconscious can be a serious pain in the butt sometimes! If no-one can find anything wrong with it, then it might be ready. Only one way to find out! :)

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  5. I think you answered your own question here. "Two of these books I believe are ready." That's when they're ready.

    As writers we can always keep editing and editing forever, even the biggest writers still notice things they would change in their published work. If those novels just don't feel right, they're not.

    My advice would be this: sit on them for a while. Put them away and don't think about them. Let them brew. If you still can't find what's wrong, find another set of beta readers and run them again. It'll come to you, but when you're too close to a project it can be difficult to look at it with fresh eyes. Take a break from them and concentrate on the two that are ready for now.

    Visiting from IWSG.

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    1. Thanks for following me! I tried to go to your site, but it appears to be a broken link.

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  6. So I see a common thread here--let it sit, then submit! :)

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  7. Visiting from IWSG. You are doing amazingly well if you have that many finished drafts. Have you sent out the books you believe are ready? I would pick the one you think are strongest, perhaps find a set of beta readers to take a final look and send it out. You might get rejections, but some of those may give you tips or areas to focus on. They may say not this one, but we like your voice.

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  8. Welcome to the IWSG!
    Start querying the ones that you know are ready and then move to the ones that are bugging you. You don't know which one will catch a publisher's eye.

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  9. If you can't make up your mind, perhaps you still need the input of others. Crit partners and betas are wonderful, and when you find ones you trust, they'll tell you when they think it's great and ready to go. Of course, you are the one who must believe that also. It's not a race -- better to wait until you're sure you're sending your best. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for following me!

      I just wish my subconscious would stop paying hide and seek and tell me what needs to be done!

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  10. It is an excellent question and I'd say you should start to shop for a publisher for the stories you feel are ready, and those you can't find anything wrong with. You will get rejected a few times, maybe, but that's you're best chance of getting someone with a hard eye to point why he/she isn't choosing to publish it. In the best of cases, you will actually find someone to publish them, in the worst, you might find through somebody else's eyes what is wrong with your pieces.

    I'm pretty sure the perfectionist in all of us keep telling us there's much more we could do with our stories, not always with so many words, but sometimes we just have to ignore those voices and give it a try.

    I wish you the best of luck.
    From Diary of a Writer in Progress

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  11. This is a tough, tough call. I've pulled the trigger too soon before. My only advice is to have it read, read, and then re-read by people who will be honest.

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    1. I keep trying.

      Thanks for following me!

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